Family members enjoy each other

Monthly Fruitvale School event shows how easy that is
By: Stephanie Dumm News Messenger Reporter
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Children yelling and laughing as they played tag after twilight was encouraged Saturday night in rural Lincoln. The youth momentarily stopped to roast marshmallows over a bonfire and assemble s’mores before resuming their play. That was just one aspect of the Old-Time Family Nite held at Fruitvale School. Saturday’s family night was the kick-off event for the monthly festivities, which will take place the last Saturday of every month. The concept is by Fruitvale School Association President Lyndell Grey and the goal of family night is to have families spend quality time together without the distractions of television and video games. “The idea is to encourage family to play together and to spend time with each other,” Grey said. “With each family, so much time is spent on computer games and video games. The computer connects us with the whole world but not with family members.” There were no video games or computers to distract the 20 plus parents and children who visited the little old school house on Saturday night. In one room was a TV and VCR set up showing “an old time movie,” which was the “Little Rascals,” and hot chocolate, popcorn, cupcakes and brownies to fuel the fun. In the next room were card tables set up with board games such as Life, Uno and Trivial Pursuit. “This is what people used to do, they used to sit and play games together,” Grey said. Each family paid $5 for the night, which was a price Grey picked to accommodate today’s economy. “It seems like there are so many families struggling financially,” Grey said. “I deliberately picked the last Saturday of the month because families need something enjoyable to do at a good price.” Grey sees a value in families spending quality time together. “Ultimately, a good family relationship is what sets a child on the right path,” Grey said. “Families are in a better position to influence their children when they reach their teen years.” Grey’s emphasis on spending time with family resonated with many of the parents who brought their children to the school that night. “We thought the letter (sent out by Grey about the night) was pretty cool. It talked about how you could spend quality time so it kind of hit home with us,” Jesse Toledo said. His daughter, Rebekah, 6, attends the school’s after-school program. Sue Martin said her grandson, Ethan Hughes, 8, was “adamant that we all came.” “This is a lot of fun. It’s sad that we are playing Uno together when we could play at home,” Martin said. “It’s bringing us together as a family.” Kim Bruce brought her daughter, Cherish, 10, and some of her friends. “It’s fantastic. I think it’s nice to get back to our roots and there’s not a better place to have it than this,” Bruce said. “I think people need to remember what it’s like to sit down and play with their families and get to know your neighbors.” Cherish and her friends, Claire March, 9, Makayla Franco, 9, and Daphne Peters, 9, all described the night as “awesome.” “It’s better than awesome,” Claire said. “Just being here with friends is much better than being at home watching a movie.”